Thursday, April 03, 2014
Christian dilemma: seemingly fine coach, but questionable long-term option
There a few different types of college basketball coaches. There are the ascending icons who win every step of the way until they reach a destination job. There are the guys who get their shot, don’t win enough and are never heard from again. Finally, there are a few guys who manage to carve out a space in between. These guys win and know basketball, but never stay in one place too long. Politics, a little losing, or another opportunity come along and the guy is gone. They are almost placeholder coaches. I feel like Jim Christian is a placeholder. I am more optimistic than most about the hire, but doubt he will be here in five years.
For a school that built its basketball reputation as a stepping stone for ascending coaches, getting a placeholder seems like a waste of time. I will write more about the process, but I am not fooling myself that we should have come up with a bigger name. This isn't about that. It is about hiring a coach who would have been a better fit and had more upside. For all the questions about Addazio, his fit and his ability to recruit were never in doubt. Both of those qualities can cover a lot of holes and mend a lot of fences.
We cannot overlook Christian's ability to win consistently in the MAC. Just like we cannot overlook his underwhelming time at TCU or his reasons for leaving that job (short version: fit). The MAC success tells me that when the playing field is level (relatively speaking) he can outcoach the majority of his conference. The struggles at TCU shows that he is not a miracle worker. If he didn't like TCU's place in the basketball landscape or the school's support for basketball, how is he going to feel about Boston and trying to win in the ACC?
The aspect of this hire that most perplexes me is Christian's recruiting reputation. He's the opposite of Addazio and a blank slate throughout the region. Can he change now? Does he have an ace recruiter ready to join him? If he wants real success, he will have to find some way to connect to elite talent.
I will be patient with Christian. I think he can get BC back to being a bubble team. Maybe he can do more. I don't know. I just feel like the next few years will be a pitstop in his career and uneventful time in our basketball history.